By Magaret Bashour, special to the Monitor
Before you prepare yourself for a day of spectating from the side of a ride, holding half-eaten cotton candy and explaining to your kids that you are too big to come with them, here are a few things kids and adults can do together at the Evergreen State Fair:
Walk on Water
Not your average carnival ride, Rule #1 at the Walk on Water tent promises that, “This is like nothing else you have likely done.”
Any age can experience the thrill of floatation while staying dry inside the giant inflatable bubble in an oversized pool. You are guaranteed a soft landing and big laugh if you don’t happen to stay on your feet the whole time, just roll with it. After getting towed back to reality, you’ll want to join the kids for this fun ride over and over.
Tempt Your Taste Buds
Anyone who takes a kid to the fair knows they won’t get away without buying the famous fair food. While the classics are hard to turn down, the Evergreen State Fair offers some tasty alternatives to the usual corn dogs, curly fries and elephant ears. Hungry patrons can choose from honey walnut shrimp, salmon dinners, slow-smoked ribs, hot scones, crepes and even “fruit kabobs” from Melon Madness. Sausage Fest takes dogs to a new level and challenges fairgoers to build their own “man dog” from bratwurst, Polish or fontanini Italian sausage.
Go Miniature Golfing
Families can take a mini-break from the hustle of the crowds and dizzying rides at Big D’s Miniature Golf. An efficient course design still delivers the traditional nine holes for small putters, guiding golf balls through a miniature Ferris wheel, “Zigbye’s Jail” and the “Red Dog Saloon.”
See Pigs Fly
If you and the little ones find yourselves wandering into “Frontier Land,” be sure to check the schedule for the action-packed outdoor events like the Lumberjack Show, where kids can cheer on their favorite mountain man through a Grizzly Adams-style competition, complete with axe throwing and log rolling.
Next door are the famous All-Alaskan racing pigs. This show is sure to be packed, so find a spot for the kids up front and enjoy the snout-nosed team that made its 1987 debut in Fairbanks, Alaska. Pigs like “Darth Small” and “Ham Solo” are just a few of the characters that may line up four at a time to race around the track and over hurdles and make the crowd squeal with delight.
Be a Farmer for a Day
Grab a basket and follow the little ones into a kid’s activity tent to practice your agricultural skills and be a farmer for a day. Farmers-in-training can milk a cow, dig for an Idaho spud, and collect a Washington State apple to complete a hard day’s work.
See a shooting star
Not many vendors have as interactive a demonstration as Stellar Vision, Inc., a company that specializes in creating astronomically-correct night skies for bedroom ceilings. Walk by the unassuming booth with enough friends and you might be just in time to see the “Star Show” where the company shows off its product, and gives the audience a few star-gazing tips at the same time.
Get Some Free Samples
Adults aren’t the only ones who enjoy trying new things and free samples are a great way to test out what kids like. Parents might be surprised to find out that their children enjoy smoothies from the Vitamix booth or are, in fact, able to drink all their milk thanks to a carton from Smith Brothers Farms. A Spice Above offers a bundle of pretzel sticks for fairgoers to sample some of their all-natural and award winning dips, but, be sure not to break Rule #3 for dipping as the sign reminds, “Double-dipping is for politicians…”
If you can spot him, Professor Bamboozle will demonstrate “Balloonery Loonery” with a free balloon for the kids, which are guaranteed, he claims, to pop.
Get a free marble from Marble Art, and you and your young one will most likely find another one with your name on it.
Don’t miss the fair on August 29, when the deal of the day is free admission for kids 15 years old and under.
For more information and a calendar of events, peruse your Monroe Monitor Evergreen State Fair Guide, or visit: http://www.evergreenfair.org/the-fair.aspx.